THREE NAB League regions lay claim to four representatives in our Round 8 Team of the Week, which proved a tough one to pick as the competition got back in the swing of full-time action. Check out who made the full 24-man squad, and three emergency spots below.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
The only player to tick up to 40 disposals this week, Taj Campbell-Farrell was a standout performer. The Dandenong Stingrays midfielder has been a picture of consistency this season and produced his best outing against stiff opposition, stuffing the stats sheet with six marks, four tackles and 10 inside 50s. In combination with his fellow Stingrays mids, Campbell-Farrell’s accumulation factor at the contest has proven high and earned him the Player of the Week nod in Round 8.
It’s quite a tall defence this week, with four of the six players arguably able to provide key position fold and all six measuring up at over 187cm. Greater Western Victoria utility Thomas Baulch is a new entrant and slots onto the last line, with teammate James Van Es joining him at centre half-back after the Rebels’ win over Western.
Oakleigh over-ager Jed Rule mixed his intercept game with sound distributive skills to be this week’s hypothetical full back, while Geelong interceptor Oscar Murdoch comes in alongside him having proven solid against stiff opposition in the same game.
Rounding out the six are a couple of rebounders. Tasmania Devils skipper Lachlan Cowan was in everything as his side snatched a dramatic win over Eastern, while Ranges product Callum Verrell earned his spot having advanced the play with composure under enormous pressure.
Campbell-Farrell captains the side at the heart of midfield, and is joined by some solid customers at the centre bounces. Geelong ruck Olivier Northam gave up a few centimetres but was competitive as ever to earn the starting role, while Liam Jones (Tasmania) and Paul Pascu (Calder) were arguably best afield in their respective sides’ wins.
Supporting the quartet on the outside are Eastern’s Lachlan Reidy and Murray’s Caleb Mitchell. The former worked hard both ways to be a key link man in transition, while the latter racked up a game-high 31 disposals to go with two goals in the Bushrangers’ loss to Gippsland.
Having provided much of the marking power down back, Greater Western Victoria has also made a strong contribution to this week’s attack. Five-goal hero Aaron Cadman did plenty of damage alongside Felix Fogaty, making them easy picks for the half-forward line.
Speaking of heroes, Tasmanian game-winner Brandon Leary comes into a pocket after stealing a win for the Devils, while Geelong Falcons bigman Tom Gillett booted four goals to help drag the Falcons over the line. There is a Gippsland feel to round out the six, with skipper Bailey Humphrey joined by livewire Jacob Konstanty on one side of the forward line, after both hit the scoreboard.
It was tough going picking a bench in Round 8, but six players squeezed in ahead of some unlucky overlooked talent. Lachlan Benton is Sandringham’s lone representative this week, while Noah Bradshaw (Murray), Kynan Brown (Oakleigh), and Henry Hustwaite (Dandenong) make it two for their respective regions.
Elsewhere, Geelong Falcons standout Jhye Clark was nothing short of elite early in his team’s win over Oakleigh, while Colby McKercher proved crafty fold to Jones for Tasmania once again, as both earned final places in our team of 24.
That means a few players miss out. Country bottom-agers Joeve Cooper and Harley Reid were lively in losses, while Western Jets leader Jaelen Pavlidis can count himself unlucky having arguably been his side’s best player against the Rebels.
Gippsland could easily have seen the likes of Zane Duursma and Jonti Schuback squeeze in, and the same can be said for Dandenong’s Finn Emile-Brennan and Jesse Davidson-Lopo. Others considered were Oakleigh over-agers Braden Andrews and Scott Beilby, as well as Sandringham’s Charlie Clarke.
ROOKIE ME CENTRAL ROUND 8 NAB LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK:
B: Thomas Baulch (GWV) – Jed Rule (OC) – Oscar Murdoch (GF)
HB: Lachlan Cowan (TD) – James Van Es (GWV) – Callum Verrell (ER)
C: Lachlan Reidy (ER) – Taj Campbell-Farrell (DS, c) – Caleb Mitchell (MB)
HF: Bailey Humphrey (GP) – Aaron Cadman (GWV) – Felix Fogarty (GWV)
F: Jacob Konstanty (GP) – Tom Gillet (GF) – Brandon Leary (TD)
FOL: Olivier Northam (GF) – Liam Jones (TD) – Paul Pascu (CC)
INT: Lachlan Benton (SD), Noah Bradshaw (MB), Kynan Brown (OC), Jhye Clark (GF), Henry Hustwaite (DS), Colby McKercher (TD)
EMG: Joeve Cooper (MB), Jaelen Pavlidis (WJ), Harley Reid (BP)